Are You WATCHing Your Child?

I interrupt this blog to bring you a disturbing announcement.

There is a child being sexually abused at this very minute.

The prevention of child sexual abuse has been an interest of mine to promote among mothers for a while now, but I have to admit it gets lost in my happy home life. Out of sight - out of mind.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, but I can no longer wait for a special month to spread awareness of this sad epidemic.

Mothers play a MAJOR part in prevention just by watching the children in our care and those children around us. Knowing the signs of sexual abuse is the beginning... do you know the signs?
Why not?

To begin doing your part in the prevention of child sexual abuse, visit WATCH

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Bad Habits and Chocolate Giveaway

I'm afraid I've passed my addiction to chocolate and love for sweets on to my son, Secondborn. Brownies and homemade chocolate chip cookies are his weakness and I'm to blame. Sorry, son!
The picture above is a batch of his delicious, homemade chocolate chip cookies. Look at that chocolate oooozing out....mmmm...

I know I've passed on a few other bad habits since he watches and listens to me day in and day out - all day long. No pressure on a mother to be a good example to her children, but they are definitely watching our every move. To tell the truth, some mothers can't make a move without a couple of eyes watching (lol).

I try to find the good in everything and there is definitely a good thing in this love for chocolate I've passed on to Secondborn. He has started a cookie business at the ripe age of eleven and I'm celebrating his efforts with a giveaway of 1 dozen of his famous Chunkie Chips.

To enter, simply follow his blog, Chunkie Chips, that he created ALL BY HIMSELF (proud mama moment) and leave him a comment of encouragement. That's it!

Deadline to enter contest is Monday, March 1st.

We'll put the names in a hat and pick a winner. I may even pick two winners because I'm just that proud of my chocolate clone.

Good luck and may the love of chocolate be with you!

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Monday Meditation - Be Still

I was a little disturbed when I was awakened at 5 a.m. Sunday morning. "Lord, can't I at least sleep in on the weekends?"

I reluctantly rolled out of bed with a complaining attitude. Although I know how important time alone with God is to my peace of mind, yesterday morning I was a defiant Believer! "Lord, I'm tiiiiired!"

I was immediately reminded of my teenager when I wake him before his time. "Wow, was I acting that ugly?"

With the image of Firstborn in my mind, I immediately sat still and prepared my heart for prayer. Usually, I do all the talking and requesting, but yesterday morning, I was led to simply be still and listen. I received a reminder of how easy it is to get comfortable and excuse the need for private prayer and meditation – even on church day. It’s also easy to allow busyness and feeling tired to replace contemplated time with God.

Prayer and meditation is what fuels me to do what I do! Prayer and meditation is what invites the Prince of Peace into my heart and my home!

Five o’clock in the morning is not my choice for a wake up call on Sunday mornings, but I’m so thankful that God knows what is best for me. He knows my short temper and my lack of patience. He knows loving doesn’t come easy to me. He knows the prideful spirit in my heart. He knows I need time alone with him just to have a pleasant demeanor throughout the day. He knew I needed to wake early just to sit and be still in His presence.

Thank God he looked beyond my disturbed feeling of being awake so early because it was better than having a completely disturbed day!

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

"Be still and know that I am God..."

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Mama Drama - Single Mom Refuses Deployment

It's been so much controversy over this single mother's choice to refuse deployment in order to stay with her son.

Read the actual story below:

SAVANNAH, Ga. – A single-mom soldier who says she refused to deploy to Afghanistan because she had no family able to care for her young son will be discharged from the military instead of facing a court-martial, the Army said Thursday.

Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, an Army cook stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, was arrested in November after skipping her unit's deployment flight. Hutchinson, 21, said she couldn't leave her son because her mother had backed out of plans to keep the child a few days before the soldier's scheduled departure.

The Army filed criminal charges last month against Hutchinson of Oakland, Calif., but a general at neighboring Fort Stewart chose to settle the case by granting her an administrative discharge rather than try her in a military court.

"She's excited that she's no longer facing jail and can still be with her son, which is the most important thing," said Rai Sue Sussman, Hutchinson's civilian attorney. "We're very happy about it right now."

The decision still carries consequences for Hutchinson. She is being demoted in rank to private and will lose benefits afforded to military service members and veterans, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson

Read more

It's easy to say what someone 'should' do, but I learned a long time ago not to let others SHOULD on me and do what I thought was best.

What do you think?

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Learning to Fight

Because I’m the only female in my home, I have the pleasure of watching hubby and the boys wrestle and throw punches at each other. Although I get sick of watching them throw their testosterone around, I’m glad hubby thought it was important to teach the boys how to defend themselves. I’ve also learned a few things myself by watching and listening.

This weekend while I dodged air punches, I thought of the real life battles I find myself in - daily. Faced with many battles throughout the day, I have to pick and choose which ones I’ll participate in. The battles begin as soon as I open my eyes, as I struggle to defend myself from Miss Flesh and her immediate pouncing on my attitude and jabs to my joy.
The second battle is when everyone else awakes. What attitude will they choose to have? How will I react to them or will I react at all? Just as my three men bob and weave punches, I find myself bobbing and weaving also. The battle of what Firstborn wears to school is scheduled followed by Secondborn’s lack of desire to homeschool. These battles are on top of battles with food, my mouth, and whatever else Miss Flesh brings to the ring.

My defense in these battles calls for some spiritual conditioning, reprogramming of my mind, and praying without ceasing. Focusing on God’s love and power within me allows me to escape from the weak punches of Miss Flesh. I also try to remember that fighting for everlasting treasures outweighs fighting for the daily trivial matters. Are you ready to fight the good fight today? Pick your battles and enjoy your marvelous Monday in the MotherHOOD!

I Timothy 6:12 (NIV)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

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Clean Your Own House!

Since I publicly shared my interest to work with the 2010 Census Bureau, I've received more than a few stupid odd requests for jobs. These jobs aren't from companies or businesses looking to hire someone with my skills, gifts, and talents, but from other women who obviously think I sit at home and read the want ads while picking my teeth with a toothpick.

Believe it or not, I've received requests to clean their homes, care for their children, and a few other 'do it yourself' jobs I care not to mention.

First of all, the Census is a very temporary job and I requested to work in the evenings in order to continue homeschooling Secondborn. Oh, you forgot that I homeschool? Oh, I see. Well, I'm not looking for more full time, day work. I repeat...I am NOT looking for more full time work outside of my full time job as a wife and mother within the walls of my own home.

Two - you could never pay me what I'm worth as a ...what did you call me? Oh yeah, a stay at home mother.

Three - How dare you think I want to come clean your home? I hardly have time to clean my own home! How dare you mistake me for Molly Maid! Now I see what you really think of me.

Four - Now that I've calmed down (not really), I realize these women may have been looking out for my best interest. After all, I did post on the Internet that I was seeking employment. LOL!

I'm sorry for going off, but just in case my best interest was not considered, your ignorance is considered, and you are forgiven.

Now, go clean your own damn house!

Monday Meditation - Here We Go Again

"Here we go again!"

This was the beginning of a cadence I marched to in boot camp every morning as my company began our day at o’dark thirty in the morning. Everyday in boot-camp was the same – a structured plan to conquer and complete arduous tasks. For some reason that cadence came to mind this morning as I began to conquer and complete a few tasks of my own.

I didn’t have a boot-camp mentality, but one of extreme gratefulness. Why? Last week, I met a mother who lost her only two children in a car accident – they were together. She is now an advocate sharing the importance of wearing seat belts, but little does she know how she became an immediate source of strength for me as a mother.

As she shared her story of living without her seventeen year-old daughter and her fourteen year-old son, my chest felt empty and full of pain. I can’t begin to imagine what she and her husband feel and experience from day to day.

This morning as I conquered the lackadaisical Monday morning demeanor of my teen and tween, I simply prayed, smiled, and went with the flow. What would life be without them? Thinking of Kiara and Jameel, the teenagers I met, but didn’t meet, added a little something to my life that really can’t be explained. Attitudes don’t seem as difficult to deal with. The tasks I have to complete don’t seem as demanding. Mom’s taxi doesn’t seem so taxing.

Just as this mother must take one day at a time, so must I. Motherhood is challenging – every day offers new challenges, but there is always someone in a more challenging situation than my own.

For those mothers of teenagers with new permits or a license to drive, please stress the importance of wearing seatbelts – it’s not only safe, but may save a life.

II Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…

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A Difficult Decision

Secondborn had a very difficult decision to make this morning.

We were supposed to travel to MS this week to an Art and Heritage Celebration featuring my older sister, but they changed his weekend basketball game to our travel day. Hmmm...decisions, decisions. He was perplexed and asked what I wanted him to do. Naturally, I did what any loving mother would do and told him to make the decision himself and I would support whatever he decided to do.

I also did something else any loving mother would do. I used this wonderful teaching opportunity to explain the importance of making wise decisions. I poured a little spiritual seasoning on my lecture and also stirred in a few mature matters on his level. I gave him plenty of tools to make his decision. I felt like a proud mama!

Well, he pondered and pondered and finally came to me and below is our conversation.

Secondborn - "Mama, I'm going to my basketball game"

Me - Noticing the concerned look on his face "Okay! That's fine! Did you consider me in your decision?"

Secondborn - "Yes."

Me - "Was it because you didn't want me to drive by myself?"

Secondborn - shakes his head up and down

Me - "Sweetie, I'll be fine!" silently screaming... Thank you, Jesus!! I'll be aloooooone!
"You know, we probably need some time away from each other anyway. We spend all day and night together. You made a good decision. How did you come to your final conclusion?"
very anxious to hear how he implemented his new tools on making wise decisions

Secondborn - "I put my jersey on one side of my bed and imagined Mississippi on the other side and said dot, ink, stink, poot, fart, out. Mississippi was out."

Me - looking crossed eyed Okaaaay!

Secondborn - That was good, wasn't it?

Me - Sweetie, that's fine and thank you for giving me something to blog about.

As a mother, I can only do my part in pouring wisdom and knowledge into my children. What they do with all that good information is....well, their decision!

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by LaVender Williams

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My Apology To Firstborn

I cried buckets of sorrowful tears as I listened to one of Firstborn’s teachers speak of his performance in her class.

As a homeschooler, I have never cared or believed in the school grading system, but now that Firstborn is in public school, we must play the grade game. Yuck!

I have poured myself into Firstborn’s ninth grade year, had conferences with teachers, given him practice tests, and even pulled him off the basketball team because of grades. I became mentally exasperated with the fight against his lazy unacceptable performance. Why is he only doing the minimum to get by? Well, his teacher told me she didn’t see a lazy child and spoke of Firstborn’s initiative and his determination to go the extra mile to get his work completed and to get it right. Huh? Are we speaking of the same child?

Well, the tears came because I felt horrible about the expectations I placed on Firstborn in his first year of high school, which is also his first year of public school. Because he didn’t meet my high expectations within four months into his transition, I punished him. My parenting style is that of a strict sergeant, and this loving teacher put me in my place and reminded me of my priority as a mother. In so many words, she told me to give Firstborn the love, support, and time he needed in his transition and to back off a little.

I came home from the meeting and hugged Firstborn. I let him know parents sometimes make mistakes and I made a big one. I praised him for the good job he’s doing in school along with juggling every sport he plays.

I will continue to be an involved parent, but will remember my priority is to raise Firstborn and Secondborn in the admonition of the Lord. I lost focus, yet was reminded, once again, that when I put God first, ALL things will be taken care of – including my peace of mind in regards to grades which do not define our children - their character does.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

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